a few rocks for aquarium props in fading light on Lancing
Beach, West Sussex, on a moonless evening under torchlight, I made
my first discovery of the Arch-fronted
Swimming Crab, Liocarcinus
arcuatus, at low tide. This is the
first BMLSS Report from the shore. The
identity of this crab has been confirmed by Dr.
capture on rod and line by Peter
Weight of a Boar
Fish, Capros aper,
from Hove beach is the very first record of this fish caught from the shore
off Sussex. The books
say that this fish lives in depths of over 100 metres and there are no
seas of this depth on the English
side of the English Channel. This pretty little red
and silver rhomboidal fish about 55 mm long,
excluding its caudal fin, large eye and large protractile mouth, laterally
compressed (very thin and narrow profile), with a spiky first dorsal and
vibrating second dorsal and second anal fins (vibrating like the dorsal
fin of a pipefish). Although this fish is rarely
caught, it is abundant in deepish water (on the edge of the continental
shelf in the western approaches of the English Channel) and it is just
that normal fishing methods do not capture this small fish. All records
and especially all live records from the shore or on dives, and all Sussex
records are newsworthy.
fish is thriving in the BMLSS private aquarium (Shoreham-by-Sea). This
fish is rarely on display in British Public Aquaria
and the only known display of this fish was for several years at Mevagissey
Sussex Record of a Boar Fish
Report from the Channel Islands
Shrimp, Rissoides desmaresti, was captured off Selsey Bill
(Pullar Bank), West Sussex. The skipper of a registered fishing vessel
operating from Selsey caught the shrimp in his lobster pots. This was only
the second he had ever caught in over 20 years commercial fishing from
Selsey. Robert Clark, Senior Fishery Officer
with the Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee, identified
the shrimp to species level.
by Tim Dapling (Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee)
Conservation Society Annual Conference was held at the Royal Museum,
confirmed today that cod stocks in the North Sea, Irish Sea and waters
West of Scotland are at their lowest recorded level and are in danger of
collapse unless urgent action is taken.
Council for the Exploration of the Sea,
wants closure of all cod fishing whether directed or by-catch in these
16 October and 22 October there have been
195 dead seals reported around the UK bringing the total to 2845 since
the beginning of the Phocine Distemper
Virus outbreak. 2451 of the seals have
been found on the English coasts, with all but 24 of the above total discovered
dead on the east coast. Confirmed cases are mostly Common
Seals, Phoca vitulina, but also
a few Grey Seals, Halichoerus
Mammal Research Unit
Report 11 (with further details)
low tide on Lancing beach revealed my very
first discovery of the South-claw Hermit
pugilator, on the Sussex coast. This Hermit Crab was discovered
in knee depth water in the sandy shallows below the low tide mark on the
equinoctial spring tide, receding below Chart
Datum. They occupied the empty shells of the Netted Dogwhelk, Hinia.
trawled six miles off Wolf Rock, Cornwall. This is such an unusual occurrence
that the fish is not in the popular British list of marine species. This
fish was 38 cm long and weighed 550 grams, gutted.
could be mistaken for similar John Dory,
faber. The Silver Dory is the complete fish shown in the photograph
of the fish caught and preserved and the upper fish is a John Dory. The
John Dory inhabits shallow water but the new fish is a denizen of the deep.
There has been a handful of previous records off Cornwall, the first official
one recorded on 29 August 1995.
orange starfish, Echinaster sepositus,
was caught in a bottom gill net near the south-west corner of Guernsey
in over 30 metres of water. The fisherman, Ken
Robilliard, who caught it and has fished for
25 years says he had never seen this species before.
Gurnard, Dactylopterus volitans,
was caught in a scallop dredge by the F.V.
Natalie B, skipper Steven Frank Hatton, out
of Newlyn, Cornwall, in 70 metres of water 9.7 miles east of Wolf Rock
off the south-west coast of Cornwall. It is only the second specimen of
this tropical fish caught in the seas around Britain. The previous fish
was also caught off Cornwall.
was described by Robin Turner (Newlyn)
as about 30 cm (1 foot) long with large scales and a colour olive green
flecked with brown, small ventral mouth, two large spikes pointing down
its back and two bony protrusions from its jowls. The pectoral (side) fins
were very large.
is not actually a gurnard although it looks very similar: it belongs to
the Order Dactylopteriformes, family Dactylopteridae (gurnards are Scorpaeniformes,
11 September 2002
recuperated for two months in the Killarny Salmon Farm before being liberated
into its natural Arctic seas courtesy of the Irish Navy who collected the
Bearded Seal on 6 November 2002.
Seal, Erignathus barbatus, was found near Leenane (the entrance
is Killary harbour), in south County Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland.
This is the first record of this Arctic seal for Ireland.
Mammal Research Unit Homepage
the 4 September and 10 September, 209
Common Seals, Phoca vitulina, were
reported around the UK bringing the total to 1005 since the beginning of
the Phocine Distemper Virus outbreak.
890 of these were from around the coast of England, predominantly from
the Norfolk coast with smaller numbers reported from Suffolk, Lincolnshire,
Northumbria and the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Distemper Virus among European Seals 2002
six miles out of Whitby, Yorkshire, we had two sightings of Minke
Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
which I believe were two separate individuals. However on the way back,
again NNE from port and six miles out between about 17.00 and 17.30, we
saw at least five Minke Whales with four in view at one time. We also saw
at least twenty small pods of Harbour Porpoises,
phocoena, with two to five individuals a pod.
Annual EEA (European Elasmobranch Association) meeting
Diary Events (Link)
am Radio 5
Brevity on the Giant
Squid including information on the exhibition at the National
Selvey of Polzeath Voluntary Marine Wildlife Area,
has found those small 'green-eyed monsters' for which Paul
Gainey has been seeking as he would like to
photograph them. When she placed a large freshly-dead Root-mouth
octopus in a vessel of seawater, from under it swam a few dozen
specimens of a small 12 mm amphipod crustacean called Hyperia
galba. They are always associated
with one or other of the species of jellyfish,
living under the shelter of the umbrella (often within the gonad cavities)
where they are sought by some species of fish. There
are only three records on the species database for Cornwall, the latest
being 1928 with a 'Plymouth area' record for 1953. Of course not
many people would look for them, but the influx of jellyfish represents
a good opportunity - so
please 'phone me on 01209
you find any and can keep them alive in a container in a cool place.
Société Guernesiaise Cetacean Section Report
many as 20 Long-finned Pilot Whales,
melas, are reported by Channel Television's
Nicky Bougourd and team off Fermain, on Guernsey's
south-east coast. The animals which included juveniles were observed
between 9:30 am and 10:30 am following a tip-off from Deputy
Harbour Master Tony Pattimore who had spotted
them on the Search and Rescue CCTV. The result was some stunning
film of these magnificent creatures, which are believed to be possibly
on migration as they are normally seen in July, August or September.
However sightings are confined to 2-3 per annum and this one was exceptional
due to the number of animals observed. Nicky
Bougourd saw 12 animals, around 6 metres in
length. Some of them were smaller juveniles. The pilot whales rested
motionless at times, and then dived down for periods. They were not feeding
according to the crew. Their usual diet is cephalopods,
Nicky Bougourd CTV, Ellen Wood, Tony Rive and Tony Pattimore.
report and excellent footage shown on "Channel Television" BBC Southwest.
Société Guernesiaise Sightings Web Pages
specimens of the
were discovered about 95 miles east of the Solent in the English Channel.
They were picked up during DEFRA sponsored fish habitat studies by
the University of Wales Bangor research vessel Prince Madog.
Each came up in separate gear deployments, though at a single sampling
station. On UWTV the benthic biotope where they came from was seen to be
sand with a dense bed of tube worms, Lanice conchilega. All three
seahorses were "pregnant" males.
to five Minke
Whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
are seen between Mallaig and the Isle of Eigg (west Scotland) and one adult
whale was breaching one mile off the Isle or Rum. This Minke
was reported twisting during at least one of the twenty breaches, leaving
the water completely at times. A breaching Minke
Whale was seen in subsequent days north west
of the Garvellachs near Oban.
on dead Common
Seals, Phoca vitulina, found on
carcasses from the coast of Lincolnshire and Norfolk have confirmed they
died from the Phocine
invasion of tiny (12-15 mm) jellyfish has killed
about 900 thousand Salmon
at fish farms in Loch Erisort on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.
The offending deadly organism travelling like large clouds through the
sea have been identified as the narcomedusan
corona, and also identified three other hydromedusans that were
abundant in the blooms as Phialidium, Leuckartiara octona and Catablema
- 28 July 2002
Whale and Dolphin Watch Weekend
here for full details of the National Whale and Dolphin Watching Weekend
and how you can get involved.
Sea Watch Foundation are inviting you to take part in the UK's first ever
National Whale and Dolphin Watch Weekend, aimed at providing a snapshot
picture of the numbers and variety of whales, dolphins and porpoises to
be seen around the British Isles.
born Bottle-nosed Dolphin
with adult, 19 May 2001,
swimming against flood tide, and shallow water
by Nicolas Jouault, Jersey
over 200 sites were manned around the British Isles including Northern
Ireland, from Hermaness in Shetland down to Jersey in the Channel Islands
and Isles of Scilly in Cornwall. Around one thousand people participated,
with groups of as many as 20-30
on "Marine Mammals of the English Channel Smart Group
some sites. Systematic watches were carried out from the land-based sites
whilst others went to see on a variety of vessels from yachts to oil rig
supply vessels and ferries. The prime aim was simply to raise public awareness
of whales and dolphins around the British Isles, although we also hoped
it would provide a useful 'snapshot' of the coastal distribution of different
species in late July.
Dolphin Watch Image Portfolio, July 2002
miniature sea anemones discovered in Widewater Lagoon,
Lancing, were identified as dwarf specimens of the distinctive Haliplanella
lineata with orange stripes which are not found on other British
anemones. The anemone photographed was only 2 mm in height and 3 mm
in diameter and this was typical of the dozen anemones discovered in two
locations each side of the bridge.
was discovered alive in a rockpool on Worm's
Head, the "wurm"-shaped rock island connected at low tide by a causeway
to the western end of the Gower peninsular at the southern end of Rhossili
Bay in south Wales. The jellyfish has been identified as the
lamarckii. Inverted the jellyfish was white underneath. It quickly
to a higher resolution image
the mixed rocks, another much larger jellyfish was also washed up dead.
to a higher resolution image
Phocine Distemper Virus has been identified
as the cause of a new increased total of 461 Common
Seals, Phoca vitulina, carcasses
tested in Denmark, with a further 150 in Sweden and dead seals also recovered
on the shores of the Netherlands.
Report for 2002
dead seals should be reported to the marine mammals stranding telephone
by the Natural History Museum on 0207 942 5155 (24 hr answerphone).
Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris,
was stranded alive on the south end of the beach at Ostend, Happisburgh,
Norfolk, UK. A rescue attempt was made yesterday evening by the Norfolk
coastguard and RSPCA, but sadly the whale beached and died overnight.
of the Atlantic White-sided Dolphin in the NE Atlantic (Link)
extremely unusual record of a live stranding of a female Atlantic
White-sided Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus
acutus, on the sandy beach outside of Newhaven harbour, East Sussex
occurred in the early evening. The tail muscle was in such poor condition
that the Natural History Museum experts on site decided on euthanasia.
They were also able to confirm the identity of this deep water northern
species that is a rare discovery in the English Channel.
for CD-ROM only
from 2001 (Link) on the Belgian coast
crab fisherman found a specimen of the pelagic crab called the 'Sargassum'
or 'Gulf Weed Crab,' Planes minutus
on a float, which was covered in barnacles.
The float was found in the Big Russel between Herm and Sark to the east
of Guernsey, Channel Islands.
was discovered captured by a fishing vessel on a boat out of Selsey, West
Sussex. A few specimens have been caught before in the approaches to Southampton
bodies of more than 310 Common Seals,
vitulina, have been washed up on the Danish and Swedish coasts, raising
fears of an epidemic of the highly contagious and usually fatal
Distemper Virus. The origin of the the
outbreak on the Kattegat and Skagerrak coast of Denmark and south Sweden
prior to the breeding season is the same place as the 1988 epidemic which
quickly spread to the east coast of England and killed about 2000 seals
in the Wash (60% of the population).
virus causes pregnant seals to abort their pups, pneumonia and nervous
system abnormalities including convulsions.
dead seals should be reported to the marine mammals stranding telephone
by the Natural History Museum on 0207 942 5155 (24 hr answerphone).
National News Report
Oceans Day was first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de
Janeiro in 1992. Events will occur all
around the world on and around this day.
Oceans Day offers the opportunity for people in many parts of Britain and
around the world to increase their understanding of the marine environment
and wildlife of the oceans.
Oceans Day Events page
rarely discovered Sowerby's
Beaked Whale, Mesoplodon bidens, was
washed up dead on Praa Sands, Mount's Bay, Cornwall. Nick
Tregenza and David Ball identified it as Sowerby's
Beaked Whale, an adult female, about 4 metres in length.
freshly dead mammal was hauled with some difficulty above the high tide
to enable the Natural History Museum to take samples which will become
part of the scientific collection. This only the fourth record of this
whale from Cornwall.
Dutch water-police spotted a Sperm Whale,
catodon of about 15 metres in the Westerschelde. The animal was swimming
the wrong way and surfaced in the "Buitenhaven" and later the "Sloehaven"
to a combined rescue operation of the EHBZ-team Zeeland and the EHBZ-team
Belgium the animal was guided trough the fairway to deeper waters. About
midnight the Sperm Whale was spotted close to Zeebrugge (Belgium).
and Map (Zeehondencreche [Netherlands Seal Rehabilitation and Research
OCEANS DAY Exhibition at Coronation
was one of the leaders in the United Kingdom when it presented an Exhibition
celebrating the official World Oceans Day. The event
took place on Saturday 1 June 2002
in Shoreham-by-Sea, on Coronation
Green (TQ 216 050),
adjacent to the footbridge over the River
Adur, with the start of the Adur Festival.
ON THE IMAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION
World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio 2002 (by
World Oceans Day 2002 Programme of Events
World Oceans Day 2001 Report
World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio
Oceans Day Smart Group
By-the Wind Sailor were
also discovered washed up further east on the shore at Kimmeridge Bay,
May 2002 thousands of Velella
velella were also washed up along
the tide line on the beach at Nicholston Burrows on the Gower peninsular,
June 2002 I have had two reports of hundreds
of Velella velella being washed
up on the South of the Isle of Man, one report from Scarlett Point and
another at Chapel Bay, Port St. Mary.
velella, the By-the-Wind Sailorwere
discovered by Nick Darke on
Porthcothan Beach, Cornwall. They are freshly dead, the float having the
animals or at least fragments of the soft tissue, still present. They are
probably all along the north coast, especially at Perranporth, so I will
be interested to have an idea of the maximum density per sq. metre. The
last really big incursion was in June/July
1981 when Rennie Bere
counted 150 to 200 per sq. metre, as they came in on the tide (i.e. not
heaped up in catchment areas) and he estimated 100,000 for the stretch
of shore at Bude.
the swarms of jellyfish it is does not come
as a surprise that a predatory Leatherback
Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was
seen by Ian and Joy Olford
50 metres from the shore off Polruan, Cornwall (SX
125 511). The jellyfish Rhizostoma
octopus was seen nearby and jellyfish are the principal diet
of these turtles.
Conservation Society have produced a laminated Turtle
Advice Sheet (endorsed by DEFRA). The guide contains reports numbers
of Rhizostoma octopus
were seen between Falmouth and the Lizard, Cornwall.
more Rhizostoma Reports
on Colin Speedie's Basking Shark survey last
week we were almost continually among the jellyfish Rhizostoma
octopus (from Lands End to Fowey, Cornwall), some areas had
particularly dense aggregations of them.
Information on the Sponge Crab
Sleepy Crab, Dromia personata,
was brought in by a Mevagissey (south Cornwall) inshore fisherman caught
in shallow water. This was the first time this crab had been seen by the
fisherman of 16 years experience. It is a rather distinctive crab the shape
and size of a tennis ball and the light brown crab is covered in hairs
which gives it a velvety appearance. As befits its common name it is not
very active in the Mevagissey Harbour
Aquarium. One of its distinguishing characters that enabled me
(Andy Horton) to make the identification from a
verbal description are the claws on each of the legs. This crab is rare
throughout its range in British seas, found in the English Channel and
as far north as Cardigan Bay on the west coast.
Aquarium is a Grade I Listed building and its tanks are renewed with fresh
seawater twice daily which makes it an ideal environment for keeping crabs
and other large crustaceans which appreciate regular water changes of this
frequency. Mevagissey Aquarium houses the Comber,
cabrilla, caught in June 1996,
and an attractive Boar Fish,
unusual discovery over Easter was three Snapping Prawns, Alpheus
macrocheles, under boulders in Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset. These
are listed as very scarce in Hayward and Ryland,
though I suspect "rarely seen" would be a better description. They
were about 30 mm long, a lovely yellowy-orange colour and two were berried.
small patch of loose tunicate-covered flint rocks with small bits of chalk
at Lancing beach, Sussex, proved
unusually rich in small rockpool life at the
very low tide (TQ
018 034). The
discoveries included a Pimplet
Anemone, Anthopleura ballii, another anemone
species that has never been recorded this far east before.
- 24 March 2002
the female whales gave birth as the lifeboatmen preventing it from beaching.
authentic report, the calf was bodily lifted by a farmer and put back into
pod of between 30 and 40 Pilot
Globicephala melas, became stranded, or nearly stranded,
at near Camp in North in Tralee Bay, County Kerry, Ireland, and were prevented
from beaching and helped back out to sea. 18 of these whales (actually
dolphins with a bottle-shaped head) perished, but many were coaxed back
into the sea on the first day. On the following day, 10 to 12 whales were
spotted the shallow water of Fenit Harbour, but they did not become beached
and the Fenit lifeboatmen were able to escort them back into deeper water.
18 March 2002
badly composed whale is washed up on Saligo Bay (NR
209 672) on the west coast of Islay, Argyll,
the outermost island of the Inner Hebrides. The whale has been identified
(needs to be confirmed) as Cuvier's
Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, which is a deep water whale
rarely seen alive and rarely washed up on the most westernmost shores of
Britain and Ireland.
Cuvier's Beaked Whale (Co. Sligo, Ireland 2000)
14 March 2002
List of Species
a sustained period of north-easterly gales, there was a massive
stranding of marine animals and weed on the Yorkshire shore (north-east
England) between Fraisethorpe and Barmston (East Yorks: Holderness). The
most noticeable of the animals washed up were hundreds of thousands of
mostly of the Common
Starfish, Asteria rubens, but
other species were present. The list of interesting animals washed up included
decapod crustaceans with Lobsters
that were still alive,
crabs etc., a wide variety
worms, molluscs including octopuses,
and tonnes of seaweed. This is the largest stranding
recording on these web pages.
& Beachcombing Page
massive stranding of between
120 and 150 Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, occurred on
the beach at Pleubian on the Côtes d'Armor, Bretagne (Britanny),
on the English Channel (le Manche) coast of northern France. This
stranding occurred at 3:00 pm just before the low spring tide.
to people who witnessed the event this sandy shore, the first dolphin beached
itself followed by its congeners. This
prompted an attempted rescue by the Fire Brigade, the Police and the public
who were able to come to the aid of about 20 of the unfortunate dolphins
and actually lift them up and put them back into the water. Unfortunately
despite strenuous efforts 48 dolphins perished, but about 90 survived.
Dolphin Identification Notes
reason for the stranding is not known but the topography of the bay and
the large tidal range were probably contributory.
Numbers for Stranded Cetaceans
Stranding Exercises in Scotland
Divers Marine Life Rescue
a week of gales, the Mantis Shrimp illustrated
was discovered on the tideline at Calshot Spit, Hampshire. It is probably
Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group - members only)
Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena,
washed up dead on Blackrock Sands near Morfa Bychan near Portmadoc in north
Wales. This itself is not a particular unusual event in view of the hundreds
of dolphins washed up dead on English Channel coasts. Porpoises are common
in the north of Cardigan Bay and used to get caught up in fixed nets before
the fishery was halted. However, this porpoise was graced by a visit by
an Ivory Gull,
eburnea, an nearly all-white Arctic species
which may have been blown further south by the recent storms. This gull
is a rare vagrant to Wales and England.
on the Surfbirds News Page
species recorded in Great Britain
reports of stranded cetaceans for Cornwall reached 45 this year.
numbers of dolphins are washed up dead on the French coast with reports
of about 300 deaths. The French newspapers showed the dolphin carcasses
piled up high on the beach.
(In previous years the numbers
have been recorded at 26.)
least 50 small cetaceans,
mostly dolphins, have been washed dead up on English Channel coasts during
this month. Dolphins are washed up dead every year, but there seems to
be at least double the normal numbers this year. Although, the cause of
death is not known for sure, most people seem to think that fishing activities
are to blame. The cause of the increase is less clear; it could be because
of the bad weather has washed more ashore, it could be because more are
being caught because of increased dolphin numbers, or increased fishing
effort, or it could be because more people are reporting their grisly discoveries.
information can be found on the following efora:
Mammals of the English Channel Smart Group
Wildlife Mailing List
Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
Numbers for Stranded Cetaceans
Marine Wildlife Reports 2001 (by Ray Dennis)
Mojsiewicz reports the capture of a Black
Sea-Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus, caught by MFV 'Charisma'
18 miles NW of Macduff in the Moray Firth, NE Scotland.
The fish was 365 mm long and weighed 940 grams. The sea temperature was
6° C. This fish is rare this far north. Off the Sussex coast this is
a common fish that supports a small fishery and the winter sea temperature
only falls to 7° C.
lay eggs after a 25 year absence
Beach, Shoreham Harbour, Sussex.
notable discovery were large Dogwhelks,
lapillus, averaging 50 mm in length (all a dirty white colour) and
one group were laying their egg capsules. This was unknown on this shore
since the TBT pollution wiped out
the breeding population in the 1970s. A chemical component called tributyltin
in anti-fouling paints caused female Dogwhelks to develop a condition called
imposex which prevented them from breeding.
2.88 metres long female Pygmy Sperm Whale,
breviceps, was washed up dead on Thurleston Beach in Devon. This is
an extremely unusual stranding of a deep sea whale. Scientists from the
Natural History Museum in London have taken DNA samples in an attempt to
discover from which population this whale came from. The cause of death
was unknown. This species is much commoner in the southern hemisphere.
The presence of a population west of the Bay of Biscay is possible. This
whale is classified as a Vagrant in the British
History Museum Department of Zoology
Whale Stranding Recording Scheme (includes excellent photographs)
Squid: Full Report
deep water trawler after Blue Ling and Hake etc. caught a female Giant
Squid, Architeuthis dux, amongst the large haul of fish. With
a mantle length of 127 cm it is a medium-sized specimen with some of the
tentacles missing. Therefore, the total length could not be measured, but
it is estimated to be about 5.5 metres with a weight of about 60 kg. the
specimen will be prepared for display at the National
Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, ‘Creatures of the Deep' zone from
is believed to be the 25th Architeuthis recorded in British waters
University Giant Squid site (by Dr Martin Collins)
Octopuses and Squids
empty fuel tanker "Willy" becomes stranded on
rocks off Kingsand, near Plymouth, Devon. This is a small 3000 tonne cargo
vessel with 90 tonnes of fuel oil. Leaking fuel poses a threat to a Site
of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) off the coast at Cawsand. However,
the main concern is that the ship will explode if the fuel vapours are
Tanker Disasters: Oiled Bird Count
capriscus, are washed up dead on Cornish shores. The Hocking
family (Sue, Richard, Emma and Rebecca) found
eight Triggerfish on Porthtowan beach, Cornwall.
from Stella Turk (Link)